Going green is something a lot of us have committed to and while it’s relatively easy to throw your water bottle in the recycling or use your compost bin, changing habits and going out of your way to be eco-conscious can be a little trickier.
One place where old habits often win out is in the washroom. With all the luxury and convenience we’ve packed into our bathroom routines, it’s hard to pull ourselves out of that mindset and really take a good look at how our habits could be hurting the planet. Let’s do a little self-check and highlight some ways we can turn it around and make little changes to turn our bathrooms a little greener.
Your planet, your wallet and your body will thank you.
Watch your water consumption
The biggest thing we take for granted in the bathroom is the seemingly endless stream of water. Most of us could stand under the showerhead for hours contemplating life and enjoying the “free” massage. It’s not free though and the more water you use, the worse it is for the environment and your water bill. Be conscious of how much you are using and actively work to use less.
Get yourself a low-flow showerhead to cut off your overuse at the source. Also consider all the times you run the tap when you aren’t actually touching the stream of water and cut it out – that includes while you’re washing your face, brushing your teeth and even when you’re lathering up the shampoo in the shower (if you can stand the cold). If you’re in the market for a new toilet, invest in one that has options to flush with less or more water depending on need.
Pick the right shower curtain
We should all know by now that plastics are going to kill us. When you’re buying a shower curtain liner, make sure it doesn’t contain PVC (polymerizing vinyl chloride). Products that contain PVC release harmful gases into the atmosphere (and the air you breathe in the bathroom). Make sure the curtain you buy doesn’t contain harmful plastics or skip the liner altogether and get a hemp shower curtain that naturally resists mildew.
Use recycled toilet paper
Not “previously used” toilet paper, just stuff that states on the label that it is “100% post-consumer recycled material.” Don’t be misled by products in fancy ~natural-looking~ green packaging; make sure they have the explicit label and you can even check for an additional third-party certification like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).
Freshen up with a plant
The bathroom is one of the rooms in the house that should have the best ventilation but they’re often one of the worst. Get some fresh clean oxygen in there by keeping a hearty house plant. Greens like the spider plant and snake plants are great options because they’re hearty, don’t require a whole lot of water or light and produce a lot of oxygen.
Pick smart candles
If you need a little more than just a plant to freshen things up — if you know what we mean — make sure that the candles you burn in the bathroom (or anywhere) aren’t made with synthetic ingredients like petroleum that will burn off into the atmosphere. Instead, opt for candles that are made with bees wax or soy and scented with essential oils rather than chemicals.
No matter how heavy-duty the scent-masking job at hand, don’t touch that bottle of Febreeze or any other cleaner with an unpronounceable ingredients list. There are any number of more natural water- and essential oil-based products out there that will clear unwanted odours and leave your room smelling fresh without poking more holes in the ozone layer. Try products from Graydon Skincare or Mabrook & Co. for the same results minus the chemicals.
Don’t throw your chemical-free ways out the window when it’s time to clean your bathroom; the past decade has seen advances by leaps and bounds in the green cleaning department. Plus, you can clean nearly the whole bathroom with natural ingredients you already have in your home like lemons, vinegar and baking soda. They might not be fancy, but they’re all-natural and get the job done.
Green up your beauty routine
Going eco-friendly (and ethically sourced) with your makeup products means you’re doing something positive for the environment while also keeping your face safe from harmful unnatural materials. Win-win. Companies like Tata Harper, RMS Beauty, ILIA Beauty and Pai Skincare create all-natural and eco-friendly cosmetics, cleansers and facial oils that will have both the planet and your skin thanking you.